DEFINITION OF ARCHITECTURE

Against the Present Pseudo-Theology of Beauty


Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 21:34:26 +0100
Reply-To: "Basic and applied design (Art and Architecture)" <DESIGN-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU>
Sender: "Basic and applied design (Art and Architecture)" <DESIGN-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU>
From: Nold Egenter <negenter@WORLDCOM.CH>
Subject: Re: def: Arch ->AGAINST PSEUDOTHEOLOGY OF BEAUTY
To: DESIGN-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU
 

I have read this discussion. In the following my own contribution.

1) If 'definition' is understood as an intersubjectively objective
scientific tool, the term architecture, as it is used today, can not be
defined.

2) Objectively, architecture belongs to the wider class of (human)
buildings, but is distinguished by a subjective (or spiritual) value
criteria: its aesthetic qualities. The term 'architecture' is
scientifically useless.

3) There may be two possibilities to deal with the problem.

a) Either we ban the term architecture (as non-scientific) and use the term
building for all that man builds and built. This solution is not very
satisfying.

b) The term architecture - now basically devoid of any aesthetic qualities
- is used like in the natural sciences (bio-logy, zoo-logy ->
architecturo-logy) as the most general term for all what man builds and
built (including his biolodical relatives: subhuman architecture). What we
call architecture today would now be considered 'higher' or 'high'
architecture, the status quo is preserved, but it would figure in the same
domain like the primordial nest, the primordially built landscape-sign,
the primordial fire, the primordial hut. All are now called 'architecture'.

I myself work architecturo-anthropologically with definition 3b). We can
speak objectively and scientifically about architecture. Practically, the
term would include also, for instance, the nests(*) built by Chimpanzees,
Gorillas and Orangutans.

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(See 'APE ARCHITECTS').

-> http://home.worldcom.ch/~negenter/00AA2_Apes_Nests0_TT.html

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The approach provides striking new insights into the cultural 'functions'
of architecture (e.g. its semantic qualities in the human territorial
orientation system). Its codes can now be 'anthropologically' read.

In regard to aesthetics: the approach forces us to become aware of the
subjecive value-criteria of present aesthetics (pseudo theology;
post-medieval myth of the profaned creator-genius!) because it enables us
to describe aesthetics as a process formed in prehistory ('anthropology of
aesthetics': contra-platonic aesthetics!)
 
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See: THE HISTORICISM OF QUANTIFIED PROPORTION - Critical objections to
Wittkower's "Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism". Outlining a
"theory of relativity" of pre-modern architectural form

http://home.worldcom.ch/~negenter/00AA2_WittkoHist_0_Int.html

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Best wishes

Nold Egenter

P.S. Note a fact primatology is not aware yet: the great apes all build
'virtual skyscrapers' (11 times the Eiffeltower's hight!)

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Architecture should - like the art of healing - develop a parallel branch
of science. A science beyond the present pseudo-theology of beauty

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> > > > > > > > > > See our INTERNET-Homepage: http://home.worldcom.ch/~negenter

Nold Egenter
DOFSBT, Chorgasse 19
CH-8001 Zuerich, Switzerland
Tel.: +41-1-2516075
Fx: +41-21-3231707
----or:
e-mail: negenter@worldcom.ch




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